Canadian-Iranian citizen Dr. Homa Hoodfar, who was arrested in Iran on June 6 in relation to her peaceful professional work, must be immediately and unconditionally released. Amnesty International considers her to be a prisoner of conscience. The organization calls on the Government of Canada to take all possible diplomatic measures to ensure her immediate release and safe return to Canada.
“The arrest of respected and accomplished scholar, Dr. Homa Hoodfar, is the latest attempt by the Iranian authorities at targeting individuals, including academics, for the peaceful exercise of their rights to freedom of expression and association.” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada. “It is deeply troubling that someone whose research focuses on addressing women’s inequality can find herself arbitrarily arrested and held, possibly in solitary confinement, without access to a lawyer and her family. At a time when Canada has signalled its intention to restore relations with the Iranian government, it is essential that the Canadian government bring all possible pressure to bear and exhaust all possible avenues to gain her freedom.”
Dr. Homa Hoodfar, who also holds Irish citizenship, is a professor of anthropology at Concordia University in Montreal. Her academic work includes research related to development, family law, refugees, women and electoral politics and human rights. She was in Iran visiting her family and conducting historical and ethnographic research on women's participation in elections since 1906. She was taken from her home by the Revolutionary Guards on March 10 for questioning, shortly before she had planned to leave the country. The authorities also searched her home and seized her personal belongings including her passport, phone, and computer. She was subsequently released on bail but was banned from leaving the country.
While out on bail, Dr. Homa Hoodfar was repeatedly summoned and subjected to interrogations by officials from the Revolutionary Guards without a lawyer present. Amnesty International understands that Dr. Homa Hoodfar may be facing national security related charges but has not yet been formally charged. She is currently held in Tehran’s Evin Prison. Amnesty International is deeply concerned for her health and safety as she has a neurological condition for which she requires specialized medical care that she may not receive in prison.